The San Francisco Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge – SF to Treasure Island part. Tanya Nevidoma at Unsplash.

A lovely picture of the SF Bay Bridge which connects San Francisco, CA in the west to Oakland, CA in the east across the San Francisco Bay. The bridge is in two parts. From SF the bridge stretches to Treasure Island, and then on to Oakland. The picture above is the part from SF to Treasure Island (seen in the far left.) Continue reading “The San Francisco Bay Bridge”

Train driver’s view

Probably because I associate trains with holidays when we were growing up I love trains. One time many years ago I even got to ride a diesel-electric locomotive hauling a passenger train in India — a rare treat. Thanks to YouTube, these days you can get a virtual ride in a locomotive. My favorite train-driver’s view channel is one that goes by the handle HinduCowGirl.

The driver is a Norwegian lady, who I believe is also a sky-diving instructor. She has heaps of videos of the trains she drives. I confess that I spend an inordinate amount of time watching them. All of them are pre-recorded since they don’t have the internet connectivity to live-stream the videos but many are streamed with live chat. It’s fun to hang out with others who share the love of trains. OK, so here’s one of those videos.
Continue reading “Train driver’s view”

A Misplaced Sense of Pride

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, polymath, inventor, scientist, writer, diplomat, etc., etc., Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) observed that “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” An analogous statement about nations could be that all nations are born poor but it requires hard work to keep it in poverty. Not surprisingly that hard work is properly done by the politicians of poor countries. What’s surprising is the evident pride they appear to take in their dismal accomplishment. They obviously revel in the fact that the country is poor and proclaim it loudly for all to marvel at. A recent statement on twitter (image below) by the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, retweeted over 1500 time no doubt approvingly by Indians, brought this to mind.
Continue reading “A Misplaced Sense of Pride”

Charity should be voluntary, not coerced

All actions of a just society should be principles-based. One of the primary guiding principles of a just society is that coercion is kept at a minimum. That is, people should be free of coercion from others, including the government. Certainly, a case can be made for why there will have to be some coercion — but that has to be reserved for matters that are essential for the functioning of society. For these matters, government coercion is justified for raising revenues required for funding certain activities. Examples of such matters are policing (to maintain law and order) and the provisioning of collective goods such as public access roads or sanitation, etc. Aside from those limited exemptions, coercion is not justified.
Continue reading “Charity should be voluntary, not coerced”